[JPL] Detroit jazz festival will have a global perspective this year.

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Thu Jan 20 21:51:47 EST 2011


Detroit jazz festival will have a global perspective this year.

Detroit Free Press Music Writer

Jazz has turned increasingly global in the last 15
years as artists have emerged from nearly every
country you can think of and frequently married
native musical languages with contemporary
trends in jazz improvisation.

Announced today, the theme of the 32nd annual
Detroit International Jazz Festival -- "We Bring
You the World" -- honors this global melting
pot. The festival, which takes place Sept. 2-5 in
downtown Detroit, also announced that
drummer Jeff (Tain) Watts will be the 2011

The Labor Day weekend event is the country's
largest free jazz festival.

"Jazz has influenced music all over the world,
and world music has influenced jazz, so we're
going to celebrate all of that," said festival
director Terri Pontremoli.

British bassist Dave Holland, Brazilian singer-
songwriter Ivan Lins, Benin-born singer
Angelique Kidjo and Indian-American pianist
Vijay Iyer are among the festival performers with
international roots or cross-cultural artistic
profiles. Pontremoli deliberately selected a
drummer as artist-in-residence because of the
fundamental role of percussion and rhythm in
music from around the globe.

At 51, Watts is a leading figure of his generation
and a standard bearer for the post-bop
mainstream. He's best known for a long tenure
with Branford Marsalis, marshaling an
aggressive, interactive style that balances
rhythmic complexity with forward momentum and swing.

"There is an energy to Jeff, and he's at that age
where he's been around and paid his dues," said
Pontremoli. "He has interesting conceptual ideas
for making music."

Watts will lead his quartet, front a multi-
percussion ensemble and appear with a college
band. He'll also participate in residency activities,
starting with a Feb. 11 concert at the Charles H.
Wright Museum of African American History
devoted to music inspired by the Civil Rights
Movement, including the landmark "We Insist!
Freedom Now Suite" by Max Roach.

Joining Watts at the museum will be saxophonist
Wes Anderson, trumpeter Nicholas Payton,
pianist Geri Allen, bassist Robert Hurst and
vocalist Mavis (Swan) Poole.

Most of the 2011 headliners won't be released
until spring, but artists and bands announced
today include Holland's Octet, Iyer's Trio,
guitarist Kevin Eubanks, pianist Amina Figarova
and "Sing the Truth" with Kidjo, Dianne Reeves
and Liz Wright celebrating the legacies of Odetta
Holmes, Abby Lincoln and Miriam Makeba.

Contact Mark Stryker: 313-222-6459 or
mstryker at freepress.com

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